Strengthening for Your Job
If your job requires a physical activity, whether as a delivery man moving heavy boxes or a massage therapist working with your hands then you need to be mindful of two things: technique and strengthening.
We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of proper technique when exercising, but those lessons are even more useful at work where you might be repeating the same activity over and over. Even if your technique is slightly off all the repetition could lead to chronic problems that prevent you from working in the future. Although the exact proper technique depends on the function, the core tenets of our Fitness for Life philosophy always apply: Stagger your feet, pull in your belly, always bend at the knees (not the back) and don’t hold your breath.
As for strengthening, proper exercise can always make you better at whatever it is you do outside the gym. Just as a sprinter will strengthen his legs and a pitcher will work on his throwing arm you too should be designing your workouts to fit your needs at work, or hiring a professional trainer to do it for you. If you are not sure how to go about this, one good approach is to start by strengthening the weakest link in your chain and work your way up from there. What you don’t want to do is skip your weakest link, as we discussed in this prior blog post.
Lastly, be careful when using braces and belts while working. Although sometimes it’s good to use a device like a belt to support your lower back, you don’t want to keep it on all of the time, especially when you are not lifting something. Doing so would cause your back muscles to atrophy.